Hi there,

My name is Zahra, a Dutch-Moroccan woman living in The Netherlands. I’m an enthusiastic cook and a passionate food lover. I come from a small village in the south of Morocco where I’ve spent the first four years of my life before we moved to the Netherlands. My mum taught me from a young age how to cook Moroccan dishes like tagine and couscous, but also sweets like ma’moul and baghrir. I remember being in the kitchen from the age of 5 helping my mum wherever I could. I have loved making and eating food my whole life. Especially food shared with the people you love, like friends and family. I love to put smiles on people’s faces when they enjoy the food I make for them.

Two of my favourite chefs are Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Their cookbooks have intrigued and inspired me for many years. With all the recipes from ‘Plenty’ and ‘Plenty More’ the Ottolenghi way of cooking managed to turn my veggies from just a side dish into something incredible. I love how I sometimes recognize combinations of flavours as something my mum used to make for me when I was little. The famous Shakshuka which was my introduction to his cuisine is a good example of that.

I have to be honest, I’m not a chef nor had I any training whatsoever. I cook with my heart and with lots of passion. Everything I do is either something my mum taught me or I figured it out myself, but I do it all with lots of love. I always try to involve my kids when cooking so they learn how to cook and more importantly get used to delicious food. I can’t tell you how often they ask me to make certain Ottolenghi dishes.

Before I started this blog I shared my culinary adventures on my Instagram @Culyzaar with everyone who was interested in following my cooking.  My cooking specializes in Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa cuisine. With my Instagram account I hope to inspire other people to try the recipes I cook and get as enthusiastic as I am about cooking new recipes.

For a year or so I have people who follow me on Instagram asking me if I have a blog. My standard answer was always no because I don’t have the time. I work full time, I have 2 kids and I don’t have the feeling I could spend the time I would want to spend on a food blog. But then I thought about it some more (thanks to Rita).

My husband, let’s call him Mister O, is my biggest fan and he too kept telling me over and over again that I should start a blog. He was already my ‘Chef taster’ and offered to be the ‘Editor in chief’ of all my blog posts and my ‘Technical support desk’ for my website. The best part is that he is perfectly happy getting paid in delicious food and a few kisses every now and then. How can one resist after all those offers, right? I already loved posting my food and inspiring others to try the recipes I make so why not start a food blog and just see how it goes? If it doesn’t work out I can always just stop, right? So let’s take a leap and just start.

Food Zahra @Culyzaar + kidsSo here goes nothing…………..

-xoxo-   Zahra (aka @Culyzaar)

I have a lot of dishes posted on my Instagram already, but to add those to my blog would take ages and I rather cook than write. So if you see something on my Instagram that’s not on my blog yet you can always drop me a note in the contact section and I will send you the recipe.